Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Integrating Instant Alert Manager for OCS and Lync with Email

Instant Alert Manager for OCS and Lync provides a server based alerting engine and notification system for Microsoft Lync and Microsoft OCS.  Our application is capable of dispatching a series of instant messages (IMs) to users - typically this is used to notify people who are running either Microsoft Lync or Microsoft OCS of some event (i.e. a system outage, the status of a help request, etc.). 

We have developed Alert Manager with an extensible API - with the idea that other systems might want to dispatch messages using our framework.  Recently, a prospective customer requested the ability to integrate an email notification system with our IM dispatching system.  At a high level, our application will monitor a mail box and will immediately dispatch the messages to a set of online users running OCS or Lync - as the messages are received by the mail system.  The idea is provide a single inbound notification bridge, via an email account, and then immediately alert the correct set of people using IM.

So, several days after the initial request, we have developed a new listening service that integrates our alerting system with a POP3 mail account.  This new listening service will monitor a mail account and immediately dispatch inbound mail messages to an appropriate group of users who are online in either Microsoft OCS or Microsoft Lync 2010.

Here is a screen shot of the mail account - with a message pending:

This is a sample message - where the message is currently encoded as XML.

After the email is received, our new email listening service parses the message and dispatches the request to Alert Manager - where it is placed in queue for immediate delivery.

As soon as the message is placed into the dispatching queue, it is staged for delivery - awareness for the recipient(s) is verified, and then the message is delivered using either Microsoft Lync 2010 or Microsoft OCS.